God has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality. He knew it already. It was I who didn’t. In this trial he makes us occupy the dock, the witness box and the bench all at once. He always knew that my temple was a house of cards. His only way of making me realize the fact was to knock it down.C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed
A pilgrim’s lament for rural England
The thatched cottage, the dappled meadow, the ancient spire - the rural contours of this museum isle yield ample beauty and refinement. Decency is sustained by a simple frame of good manners, banter and tea. But is this today an abode for the living, as the land lies dormant and its inhabitants forget? This island has been made a mausoleum. The weight of disavowal and unyielding servitude has ceaselessly obscured the light. Here, the English pilgrim waits, with an aching heart and the company of ghosts, a witness to the unraveling of a Godless land.
The harvest is plentiful.
This is a small collection of scattered notes and quotes of significance, gathered as I look through my notebook this afternoon. They illuminate themes that have become immensely important to me. As we head towards the harvest moon, I find myself asking what will be reaped. The answer, of course, is what has been sown.
BEAR LIVING WITNESS
I am here to discover through experience
what I was designed to forget.
In order to find the truth of my nature and origin,
I was set adrift.
The homeward journey begins
with pain and upheaval.
Yet within this darkness a fire is lit.
Less fear, more faith.
GOD BEFORE SELF
He said: “I am
‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
“Make straight the way of the Lord,” ’
as the prophet Isaiah said.”
What does total devotion look like?
What does total acceptance feel like?
PURIFICATION - EMPTYING THE VESSEL
"St Augustine says: 'Pour out, so that you may be filled.
Learn not to love in order that you may learn to love.
Turn away, so that you may be turned inwards.'
In short, if anything is to be receptive and to receive,
it must be empty."
"Indeed, the more we are our own possession,
the less we are God's possession.
If someone has gone out of what is theirs,
then they can never fail to find God in all they do."
REALITY - TRUTH - GOD
"We are the flame-born sons of God,
thrown out as sparks from the wheels of the infinite.
Around this flame we have built forms which have hidden our light,
but as students we are increasing this light by love and service
until it shall proclaim us Sons of the Eternal."
Manly P Hall.
"I say this to you now as if at confession:
I am unable not to aspire to the depth,
the height and the breadth of comprehensive truth,
to comprehension of the totality of things.
I have made the sacrifice of the intellect (sacrificium intellectus)
in all sincerity and without reserve,
but what an intensification of the life of thought,
what increased ardour in the aspiration to spiritual knowledge
that has followed!
Meditations on the Tarot.
"The art of being a warrior is to balance
the terror of being a man
with the wonder of being a man."
"If we stay trapped in the merely visible
we will never inherit our lives."
"Our conscious living is part of the world's awareness of itself.
We are woven into it, as it is into us.
Everything we witness is a gift to the world.
What we feel, it feels.
When we make growth the core of our life,
the world ceases to be just a backdrop, the scenery behind our day.
Instead it becomes a living ally".
CREATE - PRESERVE - DESTROY
"To build up
To attain clarity
To become civilized
first live in the wild.
The balance of all things is in their opposites.
The truth points in both directions.
Thus the clenched first holds weakness within
and the open hand offers the hidden power of suns.
Deny one half yourself,
Stand precariously on one foot.
The Tao of Healing
Words and feelings
There has been a hiatus in my writing. At times, my articulations remain scattered in scruffy notebooks or stored for fermentation in the imaginitive bank we call memory. Continual movement and the tiredness that ensues have created a reluctance to engage with any additional activity when my time could simply be empty. Today is different, and I have space for some more fullness.
Of late, my experiences are being condensed most accurately into poetry. Prose has felt too bloated. Poetry seems to be offering me a greater possibility of expressing and sharing this mysterious human journey of refinement and regeneration. This comes as a surprise – I never imagined myself writing poetry, but then out it came. Free from the burden of considering myself ‘a poet’, I can simply enjoy this wonderful act of conjuring and composing with words.
There has been so much to witness, with copious amounts of outright insanity on display in mainstream society. The pace has been fast, and my tendency towards haste has not been to blame. Generous swathes of time have been required to integrate and stay on point. I have drawn particular inspiration from my avian friends of the pacific northwest, who show such serene stillness and unquestioning patience in their pursuits.
For those of us currently without wings, we are invited to board the full spectrum flight of feeling. We are encouraged to embrace our strange and singular ride – a unique, once in a lifetime opportunity. The only chance for you to be you and for me to be me.
Words now come after feelings. They allow me to unpack and share what I know through feeling. At times, writing helps me to create a tapestry from disparate threads. I am no longer lost in the minutia of personal detail. I can zoom out. I can mold the nebulous into something with form.
Putting the brain aside in order to make contact with the reality of the world is not an easy assignment, especially for those accustomed to using the intellect as a weapon for slashing their way into tomorrow. But this is the task at hand, and the machetes of the mind must be retired. As the role of words shifts and the predominance of my grey matter lessens, my faith in feeling as the primary means of knowing grows.
Slowly slowly slowly, I know that I can feel and I feel that I can know.